Island Journey with the Evangel 6 B

Life in Larsen Bay Part Two

A Family and Holiday Photo Gallery from Larsen Bay in the 1950s

Note: the only text in this section is to accompany the photos. There are 28 photos in this gallery, so it may take a little while to load.

The Alaska Packers Association cannery in Larsen Bay at high tide, in the winter, 1952. The fog is rolling in from down the bay. The chapel is to the left and in the shade, still sans bell tower. The tall pole on the right has part of our long radio aerial.

Part of Larsen Bay in the winter of 1953-54. From left: the school, the Carlson house, the chapel, and (barely visible) the roofs of our shack and our storage shed.

Our tiny, drafty shack from the front door, winter of 1956. The red building on the right housed our (usually frozen) food. Oil barrels provide essential fuel. It's a cold, messy job to move them and refill the supply barrel.

Noel, Jerilynn and Robin on the first day of school, 1952. Larsen Bay was about as far removed from the seminary in Berkeley, where they had previously lived, as could be imagined. On the first day of school there were only ten students, and nine was the minimum to have a full-time teacher! The Evangel is at anchor behind them.

The Smith kids soon made friends. Here two of the older McCormick kids hang out with Jerilynn and Robin in our little shack.

About the picture: My older brother Noel (in front of the cake) celebrates his birthday in September, 1956, surrounded by village kids. My sister Jerilynn is on the far right. A radio receiver, powered by a large battery, is propped up in the corner, giving us a little glimpse into the outside world. The aluminum bowl in the foreground contains freshly mixed Kool-Aid, and the glass jar on the window sill contains freshly mixed powdered milk. We also had to eat powdered eggs, due to lack of proper storage and infrequent shipments of fresh food. So Kool-Aid and a cake would be quite a treat!

Jerilynn and the cat by the Northern marine band radio that came from the Evangel. It is winter, because the clock says 3:15 PM and it's almost dark outside! Battery radios were our window to the outside world in a place where mail arrived only every two weeks in good weather.

My older brother Noel with our pet crow outside the shack.

Baby Timmy (the author) in his first house with Mom Joyce and Dad Norman. This room was the tallest in the shack! (1953)

Tim with Mom Joyce inside the shack kitchen, surrounded by the clutter of daily life in the village.

Alice Aga, mother of Edith Swan of Harvester Island and other Larsen Bay area residents, became my adopted grandmother. She took a liking to me since I was an infant. In her later years, she was bedridden from burns she suffered in a fire in her home. She stayed with Edith in what had been the old schoolhouse until she passed away in 1965. This photo is from the mid-1950s. Great souls like hers don't come around very often.

About the photo: Rev. Norman Smith built the tower on the chapel, and his first church in Elma ,Washington, sent him their bell. The oil barrels indicate that it is fall, and the oil tanker has arrived with our winter supply of fuel. Barrels were rolled by hand from the dock, down the beach and up the trail past the old schoolhouse. Then they were rolled into place to be pumped out into the stove tanks for the shack and the chapel.

About the photo: The reason Dad took this picture was to show off the huge flower a local family had grown in their hothouse. But it shows the interior of the chapel as it was in the first years Norman and Joyce used it. Paneling, a furnace and improved electric lighting came later. Joyce is at the pump organ at the far left. The reflection on the pump organ is from a number 10 can with more cut flowers in it. The lectern built for Norman is on the far right, as is the door to the back room, that served as an office and as a Sunday school classroom. It had been the living quarters for a previous missionary, who vacated the place several years before we arrived and used the building.

Tim in his crib in the chapel, next to the little pump organ. (No wonder I knew so many hymns!)

Dad Norman, brother Noel with Timmy in the middle. The chapel is in the background.

Timmy and his best friends, Stanley (L) and Roy (R) make a snowman outside the chapel, winter of 1956-57. This was part of a preschool and kindergarten club led by Joyce (who seemed to enjoy it very much!)

The Agik family star. Mr. Agik was the local Russian Orthodox lay reader, and continued the old tradition of twirling the star and singing Russian carols every Russian Christmas (Celebrated in early January). This photo was taken in the home of our neighbors, the Carlsons.

Christmas, 1954, with older sister Robin (missing some front teeth!) and Timmy with a small tree brought to us by one of the cannery tenders. (The south end of Kodiak Island has no spruce trees, although the north end has large forests). The little rolling horse I am sitting on was my favorite gift of 1954.

Jerilynn and Robin in their matching Christmas outfits. This photo also seems to be from 1954, although you'll notice the change in decorations on the walls. The Christmas tree looks identical, and Robin is missing the same teeth as in the previous photo. One explanation: we typically kept Christmas decorations up until Russian Epiphany, which puts this photo as late as the beginning of February, 1955. Another possibility is that the Christmas outfits arrived late due to intermittent mail service, and the girls put them on to pose as soon as they arrived.

Robin discovered the hazards of sledding in February of 1953, when a sheet of ice steered her into an oil barrel, and the oil barrel won!

The Smith Family portrait, in the chapel, Christmas 1955. Mom sits at the electric piano.

One more family portrait, with the familiar mountain on the far side of Larsen Bay in the distance. This was taken sometime in the winter of 1955-56. I am wearing a little coat with one of those buckle belts, which I could never learn to fasten!

A cold Easter sunrise service, on the bluff next to the cannery, 1955. Norman Smith is wearing hip boots! The hymnbooks were carried to the hill in a Donneley and Acheson bag from Kodiak.

Robin, Jerilynn and Noel Smith with Kulich, the traditional frosted Russian Easter bread, surrounded by colored eggs. Each village and family had its own variation on the recipe. Robin got her own little Kulich!

Part of Larsen Bay in the fall of 1956, taken from the area of the new school. My sister Robin (center, in white) stands on the site of the new warehouse and living quarters that Dad and my older siblings built. The front door of our shack is visible to the left above Robin. The chapel and bell tower are on the left.

A family publicity shot, taken on the bluff at Larsen Bay just above the well in the spring of 1957, just before going to Washington State for the winter and then moving to Ouzinkie. Left to Right: Jerilynn, Noel, Robin, Norman, Timmy and Joyce.

For many summers, we returned to Larsen Bay for extended visits. In the summer of 1959, when my brother Kelly was born, Dad's mother, Iva Smith, came up to help out. I had two grandmothers in town, my real one, and my adopted one, Alice Aga. In this photo of a campfire near Larsen Bay, I am standing between them.

This is a second view of the inside of the warehouse (see the article called "Larsen Bay, 1964" for more photos and an account of the Evangel's last trip there). This was a Vacation Bible School in 1960. Notice the San Juan green walls and floor, and the tall ceilings. It was spacious and serviceable, and much more usable for groups than the old shack had been. We used it every summer from 1957 to 1964, and it was the only property Norman and Joyce owned in Alaska until they bought Baker Cottage in Ouzinkie in the early 1980s. Mom sold it to a local bear guide in 2004, and it still looked as sturdy as the day it was built.

To proceed with Evangel voyages, follow the links to:

Heading Back Out to Sea: The Evangel at Harvester, Zachar Bay, Uganik and Village Islands

Life in Larsen Bay Part One: Winter in the Village

Larsen Bay, 1964(The last voyage there with the Evangel)

(Still Under Construction)Link to Larsen Bay, 1998 (a return to my first home after 34 years)

Written by Timothy Smith, web author. See the About Me page for more information. Always feel free to send me comments, suggestions or corrected information about this article or any of the articles on this site. (Write to: This article and website is 2005 Timothy L. Smith, Tanignak Productions, 14282 Tuolumne Court, Fontana, California, 92336 (909) 428 3472. Images unless otherwise listed are from the collection of Rev. Norman L. Smith or the Timothy L. Smith collection. This material may be used for non-commercial purposes, with attribution. Please email me with any specific requests. You are welcome to link to this site.

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